The birth of digital advertising brought with it the sophisticated use of data for audience targeting. While the cookie has served as the de facto mechanism for building audiences across desktop advertising, privacy-compliant location data now serves as the primary component of mobile audience marketing, through the use of location-based marketing strategies like geo-targeting and geo-conquesting.

However, marketers primarily focus on one component of mobile audience marketing today – reaching the right audience. There’s growing attention on attribution, a second element, which shows that online ads result in physical retail sales. There’s also a third element to successful audience marketing which receives little attention today – understanding that audience before the sale of the campaign even occurs. Marketers looking to build out mobile marketing are missing roughly two-thirds of the picture that’s available to them today.

When creating the initial concept for a campaign, we’ve seen the most successful companies use location-based analytics to inform their sales pitches and presentations before the campaign even begins. They’re using data to learn how frequently customers visit their locations to segment their audience based upon loyalty. They’re evaluating which competitive locations their audience also visits to influence that audience and increase the efficiency of their ad spend. One of the most effective use cases is agencies and sales teams using this data early in the sales cycle to help their clients visualize and understand their audience, which boosts not only their credibility but also their ability to win the business.

The second component of mobile audience marketing involves building and reaching the audience. There are numerous platforms available today that provide a black-box approach to buying very broad location-based audiences, such as Target shoppers or coffee drinkers. There is an elegant simplicity in choosing a pre-built audience, and there are always campaigns that are a great fit for this tactic.

On the flip side, if there’s one thing that Facebook and Google have proven when it comes to audience targeting; marketers absolutely love to see high degrees of transparency, flexibility and customizability as to how those audiences are made. They love taking control of the creation of the audience. Marketers that plan the most effective mobile campaigns spend a few extra minutes customizing the specific locations and date ranges that comprise their audience. They’re using the data and the visualizations they generated in the first step to increase their return-on-investment.

The last component of mobile audience marketing, and easily the most difficult, is attributing digital campaigns to in-store foot traffic and purchases. Advertisers increasingly ask for this, but there is still no holistic solution that can provide the answer. Fundamentally, this problem remains unsolved because of all of the various data silos that aren’t able to communicate with one another. The ad seen on TV can’t inform your phone or laptop that it’s also seen the ad, while the point-of-sale system or online checkout can’t notify those previous touch points to confirm the sale occurred.

Despite these challenges, true attribution will be available someday. In the meantime, marketers owe it to themselves to test multiple approaches to measure the effectiveness of their campaigns. When considered from the “audience” perspective, we see companies looking to evaluate how this audience behaved after the campaign. They’re looking to answer questions like “Did the frequency of visitation increase?” “Did my foot traffic increase against my competitors with this audience?” “From which competitors am I winning market share?” Reporting that provides insight into how a campaign influenced a digital audience’s behavior in the physical world wins bonus points within marketing teams and with clients. There are also benefits to using different solutions that provide audience building, media spend, activation and attribution. By working with various companies, there is limited opportunity for bias in the results, and therefore, marketers can have more trust in the data.

The ability to reach and understand audiences across desktop advertising is mature. As mobile marketing increasingly dominates ad spend, and the use of geo-targeting strategies rises, the use cases and techniques also evolve. Mobile marketing initially adopted many of the tried-and-true approaches from the desktop ecosystem. As mobile advertising begins to mature, so does the ability for marketers to use data before, during and after campaigns. This comprehensive approach ultimately increases the effectiveness and credibility of campaigns.


Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Marketing Land. Staff authors are listed here.


About The Author

Brian is currently the CEO of Reveal Mobile. He was previously a GM of Microsoft’s Online Services division and has more than 20 years of technical, operational and executive management experience. Brian was co-founder and CEO of Accipiter, which was acquired by aQuantive in December of 2006 followed by the acquisition of aQuantive by Microsoft in 2007.



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For the past 20 years, I have journeyed into the lairs of countless marketers. From small startups to national corporations, what has shocked me the most is the lack of unity and communication between the sales and marketing departments.

When I first visit a marketing department, I ask its team members to describe their buyer profile as well as their customer’s interests, demographics, and pain points. More often than not, the picture feels incomplete and impersonal—the marketing team seems to have a limited understanding of its target audience.

To get to the bottom of the issue, I check in with the sales team. I frequently discover that the sales department’s target buyer is a completely different creature from the one I heard about in marketing. The two teams are speaking different languages and wasting huge opportunities. I can only imagine the amount of money and resources that companies have wasted by marketing to the wrong people.

Salespeople and marketers aren’t blind to this disconnect. According to LinkedIn, 58% of sales and marketing professionals report that collaboration delivers improved customer retention. What’s more, 54% stated that aligning had a positive contribution to financial performance.

I don’t blame either department for this problem. The two entities traditionally have spent years working in their respective silos. With such a drastic change in consumer behavior, however, it is more important than ever to take a personalized approach to marketing.

4 Ways to Reunite Sales and Marketing for Good

In a united company, true teamwork is baked into systems, processes, and goals. The sales department has an intimate knowledge of customers, and the marketing department can turn that data into stories. When these two teams share goals and work in communion, companies are able to attract more—and better—opportunities.

Here are four steps to better use both departments’ talents and optimize the resources that feed into both:

1. Make sure both departments collaborate on buyer profiles

I’m betting that each department has the information the other is missing. Marketers might have more research on anticipated buyer behavior, but salespeople are on the ground, talking with prospects and hearing their concerns.

A buyer profile should be a detailed, in-depth representation of your target customers’ preferences and behavior as they research and interact with your business. To get the best picture of who you need to target, have sales and marketing work together to build buyer personas. You might have your marketing team come up with a list of the traits, information, and values they wish they knew about their customers. Meanwhile, have your salespeople call your top customers and interview them to learn more about their motivations, pain points, and researching behaviors. If sales and marketing can combine their skills and insights in answering these questions, they’ll be able to create content based on the needs of their target audiences. This approach will help marketing know where to spend time, money, and attention for prospective clients, and it will allow the sales team to know prospects better throughout the sales cycle.

2. Schedule regular joint meetings

Sales and marketing teams are busy. If they never take the time to talk, though, they will always suffer from a disconnect. Solve this problem by arranging regular meetups with a shared agenda to help everyone get on the same page.

I suggest having your department heads prioritize this as a monthly meeting. The goal is for both teams to leave the meeting with renewed collective energy. Use this time to motivate both teams while boosting cohesion and team morale.

This meeting provides a chance to determine how sales and marketing teams can continue to work together. Ask plenty of questions: “What kind of information should be shared?” “Which channels should we use to share that information?” “What does a ‘qualified lead’ mean for Project A? For Project B?” This meeting also provides an opportunity to walk through ongoing sales or to brainstorm content ideas that would ease the process.

3. Give teams the tools to talk to each other

Sales and marketing should have shared tools to track the success of campaigns, follow up with automation, identify lead scoring, and keep each other updated on various progress.

Once both teams are effectively using these tools, they naturally will start to speak the same language of data. With your teams on the same page, you can share these insights through weekly updates sent through your email marketing platform and track how everyone is interacting with the email impressions.

There are multiple tools you can choose, but here are two must-haves:

  • Analytics tools—Make sure your websites are hooked up and generating insights that are valuable to your sales and marketing teams.
  • A good CRM system—Connect both departments through a common CRM that enables both teams to see the progress of leads, common objections, and profiles of successful sales.

4. After every sale, review the process as a team

The post-sale buzz is a crucial time for sales and marketing teams to stay connected; it’s the perfect moment to learn about the successes and pain points of the process and to figure out how to repeat or alleviate them.

Make sure you have a defined, shared process that allows both departments to analyze the information they need to refine their strategies better. One post-sale process that can benefit both departments involves sending out surveys for customers to review.

Work together to communicate with customers about their experience with the sales process. Are they happy with the purchase? Was the buying process enjoyable? If it makes more sense for your sales team to call the customer to debrief about the sales cycle, that also works fine. When these customer insights come in, sales and marketing can both benefit by reviewing the information together.

It’s time to encourage sales and marketing to incorporate a modern sales enablement strategy to make their jobs easier and more enjoyable. When both teams work together, they can reach more qualified leads and stop wasting money on prospects that won’t follow through. Start speaking the same language, and your customers will begin to hear a unified story that they can believe in.



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As long as I have been in marketing and email (and that’s a long, long time), the mantra most thought leaders have repeated is: “Think about your subscribers, and deliver the brand promise that got you the acquisition in the first place.”

That means you’re offering relevant communications every time you send an email.

As an industry, we need to be smarter, to act more strategically instead of relying on tactics to reach our goals.

Sounds good, right? But today, I’m looking at my inbox and deleting every email that doesn’t have anything to do with me. It makes me wonder, “What are we doing here?”

What are you doing, and why are you doing it?

Your job as a marketer is to serve your customers and to advance your brand story. Some might say their job is “I gotta sell my wares. I gotta drive my KPIs.” And I would say, “I have a responsibility to the people who gave me their email addresses because I’m in the inbox they check many times a day.”

I fully realize the challenge of delivering value, telling the brand story and showing customers that you value them is not easy. What I see is people saying they’re committed to customer service, but it’s a commitment to customer service when things go wrong.

Today, we are living in what Forrester calls the Age of the Customer, and the expectations are different.

Here’s what noted Forrester analyst Rusty Warner says about the concept:

“Empowered customers are quickly becoming entitled customers who expect consistent, high-value experiences, regardless of channel. On their own, traditional marketing campaigns are ineffective at meeting these demands.

The challenge is to align deeply personalized outbound communications with customer-driven inbound interactions throughout the customer life cycle. In short, brands must win customers in their moments of need.

And, to ensure the brand’s success, marketers must leverage real-time analytics and insights to orchestrate contextually relevant experiences. While campaigns are not dead, they must evolve to ensure that these experiences are anticipatory, frictionless, and immersive.”

3 constituencies marketers must serve

There are three ways we can be of service to our customers without waiting for something to go wrong:

1. Marketers must serve their subscribers, customers and fans by using technology and going the extra mile.

Simply put, this means marketers have to think of their customers first, not their marketing objectives. When we talk about putting strategic planning ahead of tactical planning, the strategy should emphasize this question: “What are we doing to help the customer make a choice?”

To achieve their goals, many companies will say, “We need to sell thousands of dollars of crap. How do we get the customer to buy our crap?” The proper response is, “What does the customer need that I have, and can we get sales from it?”

You probably think I’m naïve. But, so many times we blast the heck out of people and hope there’s a segment of people who want the crap we’re blasting. That doesn’t serve our customers.

Use the technology available to you: The last time I got my hair cut, my barber asked me, “What has been the biggest change in marketing?”

I said, “Access to data about our customers, the technology we need to communicate with our customers, and the price of that action, whether in advertising costs, forms or contacts with the customer.”

All three of these things lend themselves to the marketer having access to tools, abilities, strategies and tactics. Saying you don’t want to use those things is an insult to the advancement of marketing technology.

We have an inherent responsibility to use those tools to create and send more relevant messages.

Go the extra mile: Instead of phoning it in, launching a campaign to everyone on the list and hoping some will bite, we try one extra thing. It could be trying a new strategy or carving out time to think about the “why” (the strategy) instead of the “how” (the tactics).

Here’s extra-mile behavior in action:

I bought a product from a seller on Amazon. After it arrived, I found it didn’t work the way I expected. So, I left a review on the seller’s Amazon page. It wasn’t a scathing review (I rated it 4 out of 5 stars), just a comment along the lines of “It’s a good product, but you have to do this to make it work, and that’s annoying.”

Five days later, someone from the company reached out to me, asking how to make it right and offering to send me a new device.

What they sent wasn’t just a replacement. It was an upgraded, costlier device. The company didn’t have to do that. It could have ignored my comment and gone with the natural flow of the business. Its dedication to their customers is what the Age of the Customer is all about.

2. Marketers must serve their practices by constantly getting smarter about what they do.

This practice is how they do their jobs. Do you get a little smarter about marketing every day you’re on the job? Do you use LinkedIn like Facebook (check-in, like something, check out) or like a source of information that can generate ideas and contacts?

I encourage you to take at least an hour a week to connect more deeply to the marketing universe, whether you read up on marketing news and commentary, listen to podcasts and webinars or attend in-person events. Find something in your email program that you can test, and keep track of your results.

This serves your customers because the smarter we get, the better we can talk to the people who have entrusted their email addresses, Twitter handles or Facebook newsfeeds to us.

If we don’t continue to push ourselves in new directions, we will fail.

3. Marketers must serve themselves to find fulfillment.

This is an appeal to marketers who tell me they aren’t happy. Folks, life isn’t about being sad and miserable.

If you aren’t happy with your job, you need to do all the things I’ve told you about here. Learn more. Read more. Connect more. Try new things, not just to benefit your job but to improve your self-worth and fulfillment and to vault you somewhere else.

I hire smart people. I don’t hire “doers.” You know the ones. They are the automatons who go through the motions and do what they’re told. I want people who want more, who are willing to question, grow and watch my team’s back. To ask “why?” and “why not?”

All of these questions are aimed at doing better email. That serves our customers better, and that comes back to the company in more sales and less churn.

You need to push yourself constantly to be happy or go somewhere else to find happiness. If you look just for a “doer” job, that’s all you’re ever going to get, and happiness will elude you.

Wrapping it up

The best marketers I know feel a responsibility to each of these constituencies to take advantage of the wealth of opportunity in our industry. They participate in activities because they’re smart. They know their stuff and they participate and teach and learn and grow.

If you can follow their example, you will benefit your company, your customers and – ultimately – yourself.


Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Marketing Land. Staff authors are listed here.


About The Author

Ryan Phelan is co-founder of Origin Email and brings nearly two decades of worldwide online marketing and email experience. Ryan is a respected thought leader and nationally distinguished speaker with a history of experience from Adestra, Acxiom, BlueHornet, Sears Holdings, Responsys and infoUSA. In 2013 he was named one of the top 30 strategists in online marketing and is the Chairman Emeritus of the EEC Advisory Board. Ryan also works with start-up companies as an advisor, board member and investor.



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“Build it and they will come”—wonderful advice for summoning the ghosts of legendary baseball players, awful advice for managing your YouTube channel.

Many companies, particularly those in B2B, launched their YouTube channels during the social media scramble of the early aughts when people said things like, “What’s your Google+ strategy?” without irony. For most of these companies, merely having a YouTube presence didn’t translate into traffic or leads and their channels grew stale and dormant.

Today, we’re going to dust yours off. YouTube has added a few new tools (and mercifully removed others) and it can be a valuable source of website traffic (paired with your video marketing platform) if only you clean it up.

Spring-clean your channel in five steps:

1. Decide your channel’s purpose

Before you go dusting digital shelves, plan. Is your YouTube channel going to build awareness or accelerate leads? Tell brand stories or explain the details of your product? Each approach requires a different strategy, and while your channel can do multiple things, it’s best to do one thing well first.

Not every product or service is a fit for YouTube. If you sell something super niche, YouTube might have trouble finding the right people to recommend your videos to, and any traffic you get will be low quality. If that’s your situation, consider creating a channel that’s of broader interest to your industry. Or, maybe don’t use YouTube.

How to do it:

  • Consult your customer research. What personas will the channel influence, and at what stages in their journey? Write it down and keep your notes handy
  • (Optional) Pick the keywords you’ll target with your channel

2. Give your company its own Brand Channel

Skip this step if you already have one, but there are two types of YouTube channels: personal channels (for individuals), and brand channels (for companies). Brand channels are created from individual channels, and if an employee created a brand channel from their personal one, it could be a problem. They’re the recovery contact if you ever forget the password. (Yikes if they’re ever sick. Double yikes if they ever leave.)

If you’re not sure who owns your current channel, create a new individual Google Account for the business (name it after the business) and use it to launch a Brand Channel.

How to do it:

  • Sign out of your current Google account
  • Create a new Google account
  • Name it after your company (or product line)
  • Verify the account and click “Done”
  • Go to YouTube
  • Click your avatar in the top right, and in the dropdown, “My Channel”
  • Click the blue button that says “Customize Channel”
  • Click your avatar again and click the gear icon, advanced settings, and “Move channel to brand account”
  • Begin customizing your brand channel
  • (Optional) Add yourself and others as managers of the brand channel

(Optional): Link your YouTube Brand Channel to Vidyard

  • Log into Vidyard
  • In the Group menu, click “Integrations”
  • Select YouTube
  • Sign into your YouTube account

3. Brand your channel

Unkempt YouTube channels—especially those with grainy (or no) banner images—scream “nothing to see here, folks.” Brand your YouTube channels just as you do your website, and with the customer journey in mind. If people will discover it by searching YouTube, use the banner image to explain what your channel is about. If existing customers will find it by searching, “How to do X” in Google, let it be known that your channel is for support.

Complete all your channel information: Description, logo, links to your site, and a contact email.

How to do it:

  • From your account, click the blue “Customize Channel” button
  • Click the gear icon, toggle on “Customize the layout of your channel,” and click “Save” (this opens up more options)
  • Add a channel icon (aka your logo image, 800px x 800px)
  • Add a header image (2560px x1440px)
  • Select a featured video for new visitors
  • Select a featured video for returning visitors
  • Click “About” and add a channel description (there’s no word limit; longer is better, but start off with a hook)
  • Add an email for your point of contact
  • Add links to your website, social media pages, or product pages (these will appear as icons in the lower right of your banner image)

4. Hide, add, or edit your videos

If this is an old account, hide any videos that aren’t relevant to your customer journey, and make plans to update old ones. Adding consistent intros and outros gives your videos a polished feel, and makes them more bingeable. Also update the video names to be catchier and more clickable.

What content should you post to your YouTube channel? New and different videos that aren’t already on your site, so Google doesn’t penalize the SEO of either. A great strategy, if you want to drive traffic back to your website, is to post teaser videos on YouTube with a Card that links back to the full video on your website.

At each stage, consider how your videos support the outcome you want. If you need leads, does your banner and channel description educate potential buyers? Does your video help sell the service? If the viewer is interested, is it clear how to actually buy? If you have lots of videos, organize them into playlists for each customer journey.

How to do it:

  • Hide or delete irrelevant videos
  • Edit and re-upload outdated videos
  • Add new videos
  • Give each video a catchier name
  • Give each video an intriguing thumbnail
  • Add CTAs to each video, either in the recording or using YouTube Cards and End Screens

5. Promote your work

What good are YouTube videos if nobody watches? Run a campaign announcing your revitalized YouTube channel and it’s purpose—to make viewers laugh, to help them solve problems, or to educate them on your product. Let recipients know exactly what to expect, and what you want them to do, such as subscribe, or share.

Beyond pushing your existing audience to YouTube, you can improve your in-YouTube SEO to attract more prospects. YouTube is a search engine (the world’s second-largest, in fact) and your videos can show up in Google search results. Improve your videos’ chances by using keywords in the titles and descriptions, tagging your videos, and continuously improving your titles and thumbnails to make them ultra-clickable.

YouTube determines which videos are most relevant by total view time, so short, snappy videos that get clicked and keep viewers engaged will help attract new viewers and grow your channel.

Finally, keep it up. If your goal is grow the channel, post consistently, and continue testing topics, formats, and thumbnails, just as you would any marketing campaign.

How to do it:

  • Announce your YouTube channel everywhere
  • From your Brand Channel, follow other brands and channels
  • Insert keywords into your video titles and descriptions
  • Tag your videos
  • Add videos at a regular cadence

Looking to take your marketing strategy to the next level? We’ve put together three short guides on how to use video throughout your buyer’s journey, increase email CTRs and create better content.  




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social shares

You already know it’s harder to get traffic from the social web unless you spend money on ads.

There’s nothing new with that fact… just look at the graph above: It breaks down how the average number of social shares per blog post has been dying year over year.

But the reality is you can’t ignore platforms like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, YouTube or any other new contender that comes out and gains traction.

These social sites command so much traffic, that we have no choice but to be on them.

Just look at the Similar Web numbers for Facebookthey get an estimated 19.2 billion visits a month.

That’s ridiculous! And it’s not just Facebook either… according to Similar Web, all of the big platforms get tons of traffic:

  • LinkedIn – 917 million visitors a month
  • Twitter – 3.62 billion visitors a month
  • YouTube – 22.77 billion visitors a month
  • Pinterest – 722 million visitors a month
  • Instagram – 2.86 billion visitors a month

In other words, whether you like their algorithm tweaks or not, you have no choice but to be on these platforms as they attract so many eyeballs.

So, what should you do with your organic social reach? How should you combat their algorithms so you can generate a positive ROI as their ad prices keep going up?

Well, I surveyed 183 companies that generate at least 5 million dollars in revenue a year all the way up to $1.7 billion to show you where social media is headed and what you should do to succeed in the landscape.

Let’s dive into the data…

Expect less traffic from the social web, even if you pay for it

Look at the graph below. What do you see?

social shares per post

Since 2015, the amount of shares a blog post receives from the social web has been declining. One of the large reasons for social sites to clamp down on organic reach is that that makes it so you need to spend money to get the reach that you were once used to and relied upon to generate traffic.

Now let’s look at the percentage of digital ad spend going towards social media sites.

ad spend

Over time it has increased, and you’ll notice that things really started to ramp up in 2016.

An interesting fact is that in the United States during mid-2017, Facebook had more advertisers than inventory. In other words, the demand was higher than the supply which caused CPM and CPC rates to increase.

But similar to the game of cat and mouse SEOs play with Google, marketers also play that game with social networks. In recent years, marketers have figured out how to reverse the trend of their dying organic reach.

organic social traffic

2017 was a low point, but since then marketers have figured out a way to boost organic social traffic.

It won’t last forever… but can you guess how?

Don’t expect your employees to help

Well, it’s not by asking your employees to share your content.

employees content share

Roughly 74% of the companies we surveyed asked their employees to share their content. Might as well get those extra likes and comments, right?

I know I used to do it.

employees don't share

But then I stopped because the majority of my employees didn’t want to share the content. And it’s not just my companies, other companies experienced the same thing.

In other words, the first few times you ask your team members to share, they’ll do it. After a while, they’ll ignore you.

So how are marketers boosting their organic reach?

You have to use chatbots

Here’s how much time companies are spending on each form of social media content.

time spent on content

As you can see, everyone loves posting images and text-based updates because they are easy to post.

But they don’t produce the best engagement. It’s actually live video and other forms of video.

socialcontent

Social platforms are trying to compete with television networks and they are even competing with platforms like Netflix.

So, if you want the most engagement you have to feed into their goals. If you start producing live video or even recorded video, you’ll find that you can boost your engagement. What this will do is get more of your followers engaged so when you post other forms of content they’ll be a higher probability that the content will be seen.

The other reason videos work so well is because they keep people on these social platforms versus driving people back to your site.

But of course, you want your followers to go back to your site… and you can do that through chatbots.

biggest social gains

As you can see, 41% of the companies reported that chatbots (also knowns as messenger bots for social sites) provided their biggest traffic gains.

In other words, if you want to drive people from social sites like Facebook, you’ll have to start using messenger bots like Mobile Monkey.

The chances are you aren’t using messenger bots yet, but they are super effective. Just follow this guide and it will walk you through setting them up.

Now, not every social network has messenger bots, but over time you’ll see this change.

You’ll have to start expanding globally

I’ve been blogging a lot about global expansion from an SEO perspective, but the same goes from a social media perspective as well.

social traffic english

The chart above clearly shows how people are now getting traffic from regions where English wasn’t the native language.

And as companies noticed that trend, they also started posting their social content in multiple languages.

language post in

You’ll see a trend of this continuing over the next few years in which companies will be leveraging globalization as social marketing campaigns in non-English speaking countries in most cases is more profitable.

If you want the most out of your organic social traffic and paid ads you should consider posting content in multiple languages.

Some social networks like Facebook give great targeting options where you can pick which regions you want to show your content in.

languages

For other platforms like Twitter and Instagram, this doesn’t exist yet.

When you also look at it from an advertising perspective, ads are expensive in regions like the United States, Japan, Canada, United Kingdom, Germany… but they aren’t as costly in most parts of Latin America and Asia.

Now let’s look at social media from a sales perspective.

Here’s how to maximize your social media revenue

Similar to content marketing, don’t expect social media visitors to convert right when they land on your site.

On average, a social media visitor will convert after 3 visits.

visit before customer

That means you are going to have to focus on getting people to continue to come back to your site if you want more sales.

In other words, you’ll have to play the long game.

The simplest way to do this is to remarket your social visitors. But there are other solutions as well that you aren’t currently using.

convert social customers

You can use a combination of the methods above. You’ll find that one won’t be enough and you’ll have to combine a handful of methods, including SMS.

You’re probably not using SMS marketing yet, but did you know that when I send SMS messages my response rates are 68%?!

That’s crazy high!

I’m not talking about opens, I am talking about responses!

For email, you can use tools like Hello Bar and for push notifications, you can use tools like Subscribers.

But there are multiple ways to boost your sales from social media, including focusing on specific content types.

Did you know that if you leverage chatbots (messenger bots) and post video-based content you’ll generate more sales on average than if you just posted status updates?

organic sales

I know that sounds counterintuitive as it is easier to drive people to your site using status updates than to create a video, but you have to consider that social algorithms favor video.

You can also optimize your sales by picking specific social networks

Sales is a complicated formula. There’s more to growing your revenue than just focusing on specific types of content social media sites love and optimizing your landing pages.

To get a full picture, you also have to look at the first touch and last touch sales.

First touch sales are the traffic source that people first found you from. They don’t necessarily convert right then and there, but it’s the way they first found you.

first touch sales

It’s no shocker, but Facebook is the leader when it comes to first touch sales.

Now let’s look at last touch sales, which is where a visitor comes from right before they convert. Remember, someone may have found your site from Facebook, but they may not convert right away.

last touch

Sure, Facebook is still the winner, but YouTube is a close second and, shockingly, WhatsApp is in 3rd place.

It makes sense as texting has an extremely high open and click rate. I know you aren’t using WhatsApp for your business yet because that’s what the data shows, but you should check out their business API.

social platform


Conclusion

Over the upcoming years, you can assume social algorithms are going to get tougher from both an organic and paid perspective.

Social media companies are facing heavy governmental pressure due to fake news, privacy concerns, and issues related to political campaigns.

But that doesn’t mean you can ignore the social web or stop using it. It’s not dying and it is here to stay.

customers find you

The data shows social media is on the rise. Sure, these sites aren’t growing at a rapid pace anymore but that’s due to the majority of the world already being on one of these platforms if not a few of them.

They are effective because people trust what they see on these sites and that should continually increase as they fix issues like fake news.

As long as you follow the tips above, you’ll be able to maximize your social media traffic and revenue even when the algorithms change in ways that don’t favor you.

So how are you maximizing your social media traffic?

PS: If you want to know where content marketing is heading, check this out.





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Having a website is an important marketing tool used to share information about your business and to generate sales online.

In fact, if your brand doesn’t have a website you could be losing out on great opportunities for your business.

According to the eCommerce Foundation, 88% of consumers will research product information on your website and social media pages before they make a purchase online.

But with no website to browse you may have just lost out on alot of potential customers. It’s time to make your own website or improve your current website for the better.

In this article, I’ll show you the 10 best website builders along with their pros and cons so you decide which one works best for you.

Best Website Builder #1: Wix

Starting at $24.50 /month

Best for Beginners

If you’re new to creating websites or if you want a website built with just a few clicks, Wix is the best site for that.

Wix is a hosted platform, so you don’t have to pay for hosting.

You’ll have the flexibility to build your website using over a hundred free and paid templates with a site builder that comes with an easy-to-use drag and drop editor.

Wix also offers a new feature that allows their AI program to create and select a website template, you can also tell the program what industry you’re a part of like fashion or business, the program will ensure to pick something that suits your need or goals.

Wix also comes with free and paid app integrations, a few created by Wix, other created by third-party apps like MailChimp or Google Analytics.

Cons of Using Wix Website Builder

Apart from templates and basic drag-and-drop options Wix has available, you won’t be able to do a lot of customization to your site unless you’re going to hire a developer or if you’re willing to add lots of code to your site.

Best Website Builder #2:SquareSpace

Starting at $16/month

Best Templates and Designs

Squarespace is another top website builder I’d recommend to both first time and veteran website builders.

Squarespace is a popular, hosted website builder, known for its great designs with sophisticated and it’s easy-to-use templates. It provides first class hosting for your website, so you don’t need to take time out to fix or make updates to your website.

You can select, customize and use a variety of website designs that easily allow you to add your information with ease with a point and click feature. You can start typing anywhere on your template so you have more control of your template. You can also use multiple templates for the same website all at once, that’s a perk most website builders don’t offer or allow for users.

Your average setup time can range from 30 minutes to 3 hours depending on what you’re using your website for and how much information needs to be added to it. The overall setup is smooth and straightforward without any hiccups.

Squarespace is e-commerce friendly site that allows you to add inventory, complete orders, accept payment, discounts and more.

You can also integrate e-commerce apps and tools to help transition your buyer’s online experience better.

Squarespace also holds it’s placed in the top five website builders with great SEO optimization and page speed.

Cons of Using Squarespace Website Builder

Squarespace offers third-party app and service integration, but it’s limited and can add more work on your side. My advice, fight through it if need be. If you intend to use payment plans, you’re only allowed to use Stripe, Apple Pay, and PayPal, with no option to add additional payment gateways like Visa or Mastercard.

There’s no free account so you’ll have to pay to play. You can preview your website, but it won’t be live until you select a paid plan to launch it.

Best Website Builder #3: Gator by HostGator

Starting at $3.84/month

Best Website Hosting & Price

HostGator is a well-known global provider as one the best hosting website since 2002, so it comes to no surprise that they went out and made their own website builder called Gator.

Gator comes fully hosted by HostGator, of course, so you don’t have to worry about managing software, updates or backups, which takes away a lot of headaches when building a website. Good hosting can make or break your site, when the chips are down you can bet on GatorHost to keep your website up and running.

Gator provides over 200 website design templates that are also mobile friendly; each is customizable with a drag and drop features for images from a stock image photo library or your own photos, text, columns and contact forms, all with the option to configure.

Gator has one of the lowest prices as a website builder; each paid account comes with a free custom website domain name which gives it an edge over other website builders that usually require you to pay.

The best thing about Gator hands down as to be that since it’s a paid product, your data won’t be sold or see any unwanted ads on your website.

Cons of Using Gator Website Builder

Gator’s blog or e-commerce templates aren’t as well designed or functional as other website builders. You may feel a bit stuck with designs and features because you can’t hire a developer to add or modify your site.

Gator doesn’t offer a free account or a free trial so you’ll have to pay to if you want to create your website, so if you decide after trying Gator that you don’t want to use it you’ll have to go through a refund process.

Best Website Builder #4: Shopify

Starting at $29/month

Best for E-Commerce & Sales

Shopify has been providing websites for customers since 2006 and has grown since with over 1 million active users and counting. Shopify is one of the most flexible and dare I say easy website builders to use, which is why it’s always listed in the top website builders year after year.

Shopify is an all in one website hosting solution with a 360 approach for managing and selling on your e-commerce website with inventory management solutions. Add unlimited products and third-party apps to optimize your store, like Wishpond.

If you need a wide range of free and paid store templates, by industry or aesthetic, what you can choose from shopify comes in neck and neck with Squarespace.

Shopify, unlike most websites allows you access customized marketing and sales analytics and storage.

You can track your orders and inventory in your Shopify dashboard and your sales reports are simplified without all the complex mumbo jumbo terms.

Your Shopify store comes with flexible payment options like Shopify Payments, which includes apple pay, stripe, VISA and MasterCard or you can add third-party payment gateways like direct bank deposits.

Shopify isn’t only good at e-commerce, they have great SEO features for blogging and online classes.

If you don’t like the website design or feel the need to add or change anything you can hire a developer.

I might want to add that Shopify has done a great job at providing customer service no matter what paid plan you decide to go choose. The turn around is usually between 2-10 minutes depending on the issue.

Cons of Using Shopify Website Builder

Shopify prices are a bit higher than other website builders, and they didn’t offer a free plan, but there is a 14-day free trial to try to see if the website works for you.

Best Website Builder #5: 1&1 IONOS Website Builder

Starting at $7/month

Best Multi-Lingual & Mobile Friendly

This website builder belongs to one of the biggest website host, 1&1. Like Gator after years of hosting websites, 1&1 created their own website builder.

Known by experts website builders, Ionos provides premium website designs that come at an affordable price, and you’ll get an amazing discount on your first payment.

Your paid account comes with a domain name and email address, so you don’t have to pay extra or go searching to find a domain or email host somewhere else. They provide industry-specific and mobile-friendly templates so you’ll find something no matter your niche.

What separates Ionos from other website builders is its ease in creating a multilingual website with a Ionos Business plan (for just $10/month).

No matter what your paid plan your website will have an SSL Certificate and access SEO tutorials so you can optimize even further for search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo.

Cons of Using 1&1 Ionos Website Builder

Ionos doesn’t allow third-party extensions or apps so you’ll have to move back and forth between your Ionos website and your third-party app. I don’t know about you, but that sounds like a lot of work.

The Ionos website builder and online store builder aren’t the same, and you can’t switch one from the other, so you want to start an online store, then you need to sign up for their online store builder, not a website builder.

There’s no free trial but feel free to use your money-back guarantee after, but I’ve seen a lot of reviews about Ionos poor customer service.

Best Website Builder #6: BigCommerce

Starting at $29.95/month

Best For Scalable Website

When it comes to e-commerce sites, BigCommerce comes in neck and neck Shopify for the top spot — used by brands like Kodak, Ben & Jerry’s and Skullcandy so you can trust that if you’re looking for a website that grows with you and your business, BigCommerce is the website builder for you.

Each BigCommerce website is fully hosted, with up-to-date secure servers and fast page loading speeds. Unlike Shopify, BigCommerce isn’t just for e-commerce, you create a website for events, downloading services, and blogs with drag and drop website templates.

If you want to use BigCommerce for e-commerce, you can access multiple sales channels. For instance, you can sell through Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, eBay, Amazon, and more all from your website.

Customize your shipping, flexible tax systems, and drop shipping features to get your business up and running.

And great news if you’re a WordPress fan, you can integrate it with BigCommerce for e-commerce flexibility and twice the website speed and security no matter how much traffic you’ve got.

BigCommerce provides multiple payment gateways like Stripe, PayPal, Visa Checkout, Chase Pay, Apple Pay, Square, Amazon Pay and unlike other website builders BigCommerce doesn’t charge you a transaction fee no matter what payment method you use.

Cons of Using BigCommerce

For BigCommerce the interface from the back end, it can be more difficult to use than Shopify and other website builders. So you may have to click around a few times to get the hang of everything.

Best Website Builder #7: Strikingly

Starting at $8/month

Best Landing Pages

Compared to all the website builders listed here, Strikingly is like the new kid on the block compared to the older companies listed It launched in 2012 since then has helped brands like TribeWanted and OneHelping to host their websites. It’s easy to setup and doesn’t require coding if you’re new to website building.

Strikingly may be young but it falls in line with providing customizable and mobile-friendly templates. It has one of the easiest website editors compared to Wix and Squarespace.

Your site also comes with built-in analytics so you can track the traffic on your website and built-in HTTPS for added security for your website.

Unlike most of its website builders, it offers a free 14-day trial and a free account. Strikingly is also known for giving great customer service based on the reviews of new and old customers. Their customer support seems to have a fast turnaround for any problems or questions you throw their way.

Strikingly hosts your website for you, but offers the chance to change your hosting or add your domain name for paid accounts. You’ll also get 5 GB of monthly bandwidth so you can don’t have to worry about storage when you start your website.

Cons of Using Strikingly Website Builder

If you’re planning to create an e-commerce store, you must upgrade your account to add products, and depending on how many products you’ll be adding to your store you’ll need to keep upgrading.

You need to upgrade to get more than one page for your website or add up to 300 products to your site. However, the pro account is more affordable than other pro accounts from competitors like Squarespace and Shopify.

Some people find that Strikingly isn’t very SEO friendly because of the lack of metadata and alt-text features in some areas. Some reviews say adding an SEO plugin sometimes does more harm than good. I’d say try it and see it for yourself.

Best Website Builder #8: Weebly

Starting at $8/month

Best Easy Set-Up

One the easiest website builder around, Weebly is great for website beginners who need to have their site up and running in just a few clicks. It offers designed templates that allow you to customize without the hassle of learning code.

Weebly like most, if not all, of the website builder on this list, is a hosted platform, so they manage all your software and upgrades on the back-end, so you don’t have to think twice on your end.

You’ll also have access to an app center where you can add the apps you need to optimize your website.

Feel free to make your site multilingual, so your international visitors can browse with ease.

Unlike other website builders, Weebly offers a free plan you can try with unlimited bandwidth and sub-domain with helpful SEO guides.

Weebly is a must have for someone who isn’t as tech savvy and needs to create a DIY website.

Cons of Using Weebly Website Builder

For website speed and performances, it’s come in last against its competitors. Weebly isn’t as adjustable as Wix or Shopify, or as pleasing as Squarespace. But it’s still easier to use than all three.

There’s no restore option, so when you edit your template or website, you’re stuck with the changes unless you go through all the trouble of changing it back yourself.

Best Website Builder #9: WordPress.com

Starting at $4/month

Best For Website Customization

I’ve used WordPress for the past four years and can attest to its many pros and cons.
WordPress allows you to create your site with themes or templates free or paid. WordPress gives you the flexibility to add code in your theme, add over 50,000 (paid and free) plugins to optimize your site.

You have full control of your website allowing you to make it into an e-commerce store, membership course, community forums, online portfolio, simple landing page and more.

Keep in mind that WordPress.com and WordPress.org are two very different website platforms. The key difference between the two is that with WordPress.org you have to install the WordPress software on a web server.

Cons of Using WordPress Website Builder

To get WordPress customer support you must have a paid account if you have a free account you have to upgrade or the majority of your support will come from FAQ to guide yourself through the problems.

There is a steep learning curve but once you get the hang of everything you’ll be fine.

If you’re looking for a website to host your e-commerce store, I wouldn’t recommend WordPress because you must install and code your payment system in yourself or search for a (paid) plugin that won’t rob you with fees.

Best Website Builder #10: GoDaddy Website Builder

Starting at $$5.99/month

Best Domain & Hosting

One the most established and trusted website builders, domain and hosting site. GoDaddy has been hosting and creating websites before you even knew you needed one. It’s improved its website builder over the years with a few added features to keep up with updates and needs of their customers.

Before you even build your website, you can buy a custom domain or an email along with your GoDaddy Plan. Which cuts out the hassle of having to buy them or buy them at a far higher cost with other sites like Squarespace and Shopify.

Unlike other website builders, GoDaddy gives you step-by-step instructions as you build your website from start to finish even if you’re not a web building pro.

The website builder is great if you’re not a tech savvy and need something up and running for your business or blog.

You had over 300 template designs and added e-commerce tools like a built-in shopping cart, inventory management, online payment gateways and access to sell from third-party sites like Amazon or Etsy, so you can sell on your store right after you’ve designed it.

Website templates also come ready with a mobile, tablets, and desktop versions of each page.

You can show off your social media with simple integration right on your user dashboard.

You’ll always have access to 24/7 support via phone, chat or email so happens you can get help right away. Your site is SSL certified for security.

Your website will have an ad, but only one, in the form of a footnote it can easily be removed at an affordable cost.

Cons of Using WordPress Website Builder

Email customer support isn’t as reliable as chat or email so keep that in mind if you use GoDaddy.

The SEO settings are very basic and can affect your Google rankings if you’re not watching. My recommendation would be to install a third party SEO tool to help.

Even though GoDaddy has improved, its website builder the set up is nowhere as fast or sophisticated in design as the rest of the website builders on this list.

Summary

Here are the 10 best website builders ranked from highest to lowest:

  1. Wix
  2. SquareSpace
  3. Gator by HostGator
  4. Shopify
  5. 1&1 IONOS Website Builder
  6. BigCommerce
  7. Strikingly
  8. Weebly
  9. WordPress.com
  10. GoDaddy Website Builder

What about you? What’s your first pick when it comes to the best website builder?

Let me know in the comments below and show off your favorite website builder.



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Even though Black Friday and Cyber Monday are behind us, holiday spending is far from over. In fact, the National Retail Federation expects holiday retail sales in November and December to increase between 4.3 and 4.8 percent over 2017, for a total of $717.45 billion to $720.89 billion. That means there’s still time and money left on the table for brands to reach interested and motivated shoppers, especially at the lower end of the marketing funnel.

According to Brett Zucker, CMO at Monotype—a company that empowers the world’s top 2000 brands with design, technology and expertise—sense-based marketing (i.e., appealing to consumers’ senses) is the best way to maximize returns during this high-volume, high-impact time of year. Namely, there are five key strategies marketers should consider, if they want to maximize yields through Dec. 25 and beyond.

  • General Senses
    • Experiential Gifts Win Out—From ax throwing to aerial yoga, this year’s holiday shoppers, especially millennials and GenZ, are increasingly opting to gift experiences in place of material items. The trend makes sense as recent studies from university researchers reveal that experiential purchases tend to provide more enduring happiness. For brands in hospitality and travel, there is a natural connection to “selling” experiences to consumers. For marketers outside these channels, think about how you can make your products an experience; it may be as simple as a small tweak in messaging. For example, you’re not just selling a festive, scented holiday candle. You’re selling nostalgia, the feeling of warmth or being cozy.
  • Sight:
    • Go for Authenticity—Gone are the days of stock photos. Ditch the staged photography, which can come across as cold or un-relatable, in favor of real images of real people. If, unlike CVS, you don’t have $$ to drop on refreshing packaging with untouched photos, consider other avenues, like UGC or influencer content. Both are solid alternatives that not only inspire loyalty, but it will make your brand feel more accessible and authentic. Bonus: reports show that UGC actually has the power to inspire purchase decisions (70% in fact).
    • Know When and How to Stylize Your Brand—Every brand has a complex visual identity, from the typefaces it uses, down to the color of the logo or packaging. Don’t overlook these small details that can have big impact.
  • Sound:
    • Optimize SEO for Smart Speaker Shopping—22% of Gen Xers and 17% of millennials plan to use a virtual assistant for shopping this holiday season. If your customers start their shopping journey via smart speaker, you may want to overhaul your content marketing to prioritize long-tail keywords that are more conversational, or “featured snippets” that appear higher on search results. In any case, optimized SEO is the name of the game.
    • Consider Curated Playlists Consistent with Your Brand—How can you make your online shopping experience unique, if already convenient? Maybe it’s a stylized Spotify playlist shoppers can tune in to while browsing. Not only a festive and personal touch, but it just could put shoppers in the right holiday spirit to convert—not abandon—their cart.
  • Touch:
    • Don’t Neglect In-Store Experiences—We hear a lot about the retail apocalypse or death to brick-and-mortar, but that’s far from the case. In fact, stats show that physical stores still play a critical role in the winding shopper journey. Want to make their in-store experience more memorable? Consider the power of in-store demos where consumers can discover and explore your product with their own two hands. This has proven especially powerful for the likes of beauty upstarts and legacy brands that are embracing experiential.

The post 5 Strategies Brands Haven’t Tapped Yet for Holiday 2018 appeared first on Mobile Marketing Watch.



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This article has been updated to reflect changes and include video ad view count information from more platforms.

Advertisers allocated a quarter of all digital ad spend — $27.8 billion — to video ads last year, according to eMarketer. video has become big business for social platforms. Twitter attributes more than half of its ad revenue to video, its fastest growing ad format. Video ads also make up half of Snapchat’s revenue, and 30 percent of Facebook’s ad revenue, eMarketer estimates.

Yet, video ad bidding and view measurement and reporting can vary widely by platform. As the market for video ads has grown, many social platforms have expanded bidding options and reporting metrics for video ads. This can all make analyzing and comparing results across platforms a challenge.

We surveyed the major social video platforms to see what counts as a view. For Facebook and Instagram, viewing just 3 seconds of a video of any length is considered a view. For YouTube Trueview ads, it’s around 30 seconds. Others have adopted the MRC standard (see below) or a kind of variation on it. Bottom line, advertisers need to be aware how each of the platforms count and charge for video ad views because they aren’t apples to apples.

A video ad view methodology by platform

The Media Rating Council (MRC) and IAB define a video ad as viewable “when at least 50 percent of the ad’s pixels are visible on a screen for at least two consecutive seconds.” Some platforms have adopted this standard, but many have not.

Here’s the rundown on how the major players count video views:

Google/YouTube: The skippable TrueView ads on YouTube and the Google Display Network count a video view when someone engaged with an ad or watches 30 seconds of a video ad, or the duration of the ad if it is shorter than 30 seconds.

Facebook and Instagram: Facebook and it’s family of apps count a video view for both in-stream and Stories ads at 3 seconds. However, advertisers can buy video ads on either a CPM basis or ThuruPlay basis. When buying on a CPM basis, an impression is counted when one pixel of the video ad comes into view. With ThruPlay, advertisers are charged when a video ad plays to 97 percent completion or up to 15 seconds, whichever comes sooner.

LinkedIn: For LinkedIn’s sponsored content, video views are counted when 50 percent of the ad is in-view for 1 second on desktop and 300 milliseconds (one-third of a second) on mobile.

Pinterest: Pinterest adopted the MRC standard of 50 percent of the ad in-view for 2 continuous seconds or more.

Reddit: Reddit defines a video view as 2 continuous seconds at 50 percent viewability, per the MRC standard. A full video view is counted after a video ad shows for 3 continuous seconds at 100 percent viewability. Advertisrs can bid on a cost-per-view (CPV) or CPM basis.

Snapchat: Snap Ads’ view criteria is 2 seconds for a video view. The platform’s video ads run full-screen with the sound on.

Twitter: Twitter adopted the MRC standard and counts a video ad view when 50 percent of the ad is in view for 2 seconds or more, or when a user engages with a video ad by clicking to expand or un-muting it.

Other metrics to consider

Many platforms show additional engagement metrics and view counts. For example, Google offers quartile watch time metrics, along with an extensive list of video ad metrics that includes click performance, engagement performance, and reach and frequency.

Facebook reports 2 second, 3 second, 10 second and ThruPlays, regardless of which bidding option you choose. It also reports watch time metrics, showing showing how often 25 percent, 50 percent, 75 percent or 100 percent of a video ad was watched.

Redditr reports views at 25, 50, 75 95 and 100 percent of video length at any viewability as well as the number of times a video ad was watched for 3, 5, and 10 seconds in aggregate at any viewability.

In October 2018, YouTube began counting an ‘Engagement’ to a TrueView for action ad whenever a user clicks or watches 10 seconds or more when using maximize conversions or target CPA bidding — down from from 30 seconds. Those ads are still charged on a CPM basis, however, when using maximize conversion or target CPA bidding strategies.


About The Author

Amy Gesenhues is Third Door Media’s General Assignment Reporter, covering the latest news and updates for Marketing Land and Search Engine Land. From 2009 to 2012, she was an award-winning syndicated columnist for a number of daily newspapers from New York to Texas. With more than ten years of marketing management experience, she has contributed to a variety of traditional and online publications, including MarketingProfs.com, SoftwareCEO.com, and Sales and Marketing Management Magazine. Read more of Amy’s articles.



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